Nestled in the Northwest corner of the United States, Oregon brings to mind beautiful nature, the rugged outdoors, and even its eponymous trail for many Americans. It can also be associated with an extensive and highly regarded college system, with options ranging from two-year associates degrees to doctoral programs to distance learning, meeting the needs and budget of every student.
Oregon offers 17 community colleges with over 60 campuses and centers statewide, giving students the chance to pursue an education close to their homes, wherever they may be. With tuition coming in at around half the price of Oregon’s public universities, community colleges are a financially sound choice for those with high aspirations but a tight budget.
Oregon’s community college students find great success after they graduate. Those who transfer to public universities earn the same grade point average as their peers. They also graduate with a bachelor’s degree at a similar rate as peers who started at public universities. To ease the transition, many of the community colleges have degree partnerships with state schools. Clackamas Community College, for example, offers dual enrollment with Oregon Institute of Technology, Oregon State, or Portland State University. With one application and no hassle of transferring, students can save money by completing many prerequisite and lower level courses at the community college while availing themselves to the additional offerings at a four-year university.
There are a wide range of degrees and programs available for prospective students at Oregon’s community colleges. Programs run the gamut from liberal arts to career and technical programs, falling into six categories: agriculture, food, and natural resources; arts, information, and communications; business and management; health services; human resources; and industrial and engineering systems. Oregon’s biggest community college, Portland Community College, offers a “Possibilities Playbook” that outlines how these programs can lead to successful careers, and what the skills, potential employers, and salaries look like for related jobs.
|School||Enrollment||What’s unique about it?|
|Portland Community College||89,903||Oregon’s largest post-secondary institution|
|Chemeketa Community College||38,881||Offers career pathway roadmaps to show coursework and skills needed for occupations|
|Clackamas Community College||36,000||Has more than 80 career technical programs, many one year or less|
|Mt. Hood Community College||33,000||Has co-enrollment agreements with five universities|
|Lane Community College||18,585||Partners with and offers customized training for local businesses|
The Oregon University System has seven universities and one branch campus for students looking to pursue bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees. The state is committed to providing quality higher education options for Oregonians. So much so, that the state government has set a goal that by 2025, 40 percent of Oregon residents will have an associate’s degree or meaningful post-secondary certificate, and 40 percent will hold a bachelor’s or advanced degree.
To help make this goal possible, the Oregon University System has diverse options to meet every student’s needs, including early options for high school students, transfer opportunities, distance education, international programs, global internships, and an accelerated baccalaureate program. The most popular courses of study in Oregon’s public universities are social sciences, humanities and fine arts, business, and engineering.
|School||Enrollment||Points of Interest|
|Eastern Oregon University||4,157||Special focus on rural, regional, and distance learning|
|Oregon Institute of Technology||4,414||The Northwest’s only polytechnic institute|
|Oregon State University||27,925||Land, Sea, Sun, and Space Grant University|
|Oregon State University – Cascades||936||Branch campus on the site of Central Oregon Community College|
|Portland State University||28,766||Diverse university with urban setting in the heart of Portland|
|Southern Oregon University||6,140||Offers connected learning experiences, including internships, mentor relationships, field study, capstone experiences, volunteerism, and civic engagement|
|University of Oregon||24,548||Offers programs ranging from architecture and allied arts to planning and public policy|
|Western Oregon University||6,188||Award-winning academic advising department|
Oregon has over 25 private nonprofit colleges for students looking to branch out beyond the public university system. With law and professional schools, undergraduate and graduate programs, and distance learning options, these schools can meet nearly any educational need. Though typically more expensive than their public counterparts, many of Oregon’s private schools have strong financial aid offerings that make them a viable option.
|School||Location||Did you know?|
|George Fox University||Newberg||Christian university with small student-to-faculty ratio|
|Lewis and Clark College||Portland||Liberal arts college with over 70% of students living on campus|
|University of Portland||Portland||Catholic university with schools of business, education, engineering, nursing, and arts, and sciences|
|Willamette University||Salem||A national leader in sustainability and civic engagement education and research|
Distance learning is becoming popular in states nationwide, and Oregon is no exception. The Oregon University System offers distance learning at many of its campuses, giving students the option to complete anything from one class to an entire program online. Oregon State University’s Ecampus allows students to choose from 35 degrees and programs offered online that can be completed from anywhere in the world. The program has received rave reviews, with U.S. News & World Report ranking it the Best Online Bachelor’s Program in 2014.
The University of Oregon has been a leader in online education as well, first offering courses online in 1996. Since then, their distance learning program has grown steadily. Some 4,000 of their students take at least one course online, comprising one sixth of their student body.
Working professionals looking to advance their career may also be interested in George Fox’s hybrid Doctor of Business Administration program. Courses are completed primarily online, but students also come to Portland twice a year for in-person sessions. The program takes three years to complete.
Oregon offers a wealth of opportunities for graduates looking to start their careers. The state’s largest industries are trade, transportation, and utilities; together, they comprise almost one out of every five jobs in the state. Health care positions abound as well, with ambulatory health care services, hospitals, and nursing and residential care facilities among the top employers.
On top of that, many public corporations are headquartered in Oregon, including Nike, Columbia Sportswear, Northwest Natural Gas, and Precision Castparts Corp.
Job seekers may also be interested in industries that are more unique to Oregon, namely breweries and ocean fisheries. Oregon is home to one of the largest salmon-fishing industries in the world. The state also houses many breweries, with Portland having the largest number of breweries of any city in the world.
Overall, Oregon has a promising job market for recent graduates. Recently released projections from the Oregon Employment Department state that 258,000 new jobs will be created between 2012 and 2022.
Portland Community CollegePortland, Oregon
Portland State UniversityPortland, Oregon
Oregon State UniversityCorvallis, Oregon
University of OregonEugene, Oregon
Chemeketa Community CollegeSalem, Oregon
Lane Community CollegeEugene, Oregon
Mt Hood Community CollegeGresham, Oregon
Clackamas Community CollegeOregon City, Oregon
Linn-Benton Community CollegeAlbany, Oregon
Central Oregon Community CollegeBend, Oregon